Friday, August 28, 2015

Church Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

I have to say, there were some moments during this wedding planning period when I thought, this is terrible!  I wish we had eloped!  So many details and planning to think about!  But you know what… it's amazing to look out at your audience and see that everyone that you care about, whom you love and who love you in return, is there to celebrate you, and to help you celebrate the one you love.

Weddings are ultimately about love, right?  And I felt so much love.

We had our rehearsal at the church on Friday evening.
My sister and Michael, as we wait for our Uber to the church.
A family portrait - why is my sister so much taller than the rest of us?
I had this qipao made back in 2002 when I was studying in Beijing - it came in handy on Friday!
Walking down the aisle with my dad
Hamming it up for the rehearsal
 We then ushered everyone into a big bus and headed out to Flushing, Queens, where we had a rehearsal dinner for our family at Imperial Palace.

We chose a restaurant with very good food - the setting was a bit crowded and hectic, but that's also kind of the intimate and natural experience we wanted to share with our family.  It's quintessentially Flushing!

As for the significance of Flushing, it is where my family settled when they first emigrated to New York, and where my paternal grandmother has stayed ever since.  My grandmother was a housekeeper for wealthy families out in Great Neck and put her sewing skills to use in a garment factory.  It was from Flushing that my mom and dad and my dad's family learned how to navigate the New York City subway system, worked as busboys and housekeepers, and generally tried to figure out their new lives in a new land.  I was born at Flushing Hospital.

Eventually almost everyone would move out (to Bayside, then Long Island), but even then, for every weekend, we would return to Flushing for dim sum (roast duck vermicelli noodles and chicken feet steamed in a black bean sauce being staples of my childhood), grocery shopping and mahjong.  It seemed fitting to have the rehearsal dinner in a city that figures so prominently in my life and memories.
Here I am with my two grandmothers.
We took quite a few family portraits.
We had a ten course meal which practically stretched everyone to the limit:
-appetizer platter of cold cuts and marinated jellyfish
-seafood soup with tofu
-sesame crusted shrimp balls with broccoli and walnuts
-pea shoots with bamboo piths
-steamed fish
-T-bone steak in a pepper sauce
-garlic fried lamb chops
-ginger and scallion sauteed lobsters
-fried rice
-fruit platter and sweet red bean soup

Near the end of the night, my dad and Michael's dad broke out the Moutai (a very strong Chinese liquor) and toasted each other.


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